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Notions: How did they do that?

Peel back the layers of needlework history and uncover more about historical textiles from around the globe in the Summer 2020 issue of PieceWork.

Home Economics and Sewing Sample Books

Sewing books from the early 20th century illustrate the shift from teaching sewing at home to providing instruction in a school classroom.

Stitching in Solitude: Medieval Anchoresses and Nuns

During the Middle Ages, anchoresses and nuns were women who secluded themselves from the rest of society and, often, spent some of their time on handwork.

Like Handwork for Love

Needlework often weaves its way into literature. Like Water for Chocolate (1989) combines cooking and crochet in a most memorable way.

Antique Needlework Tools: Buttonhole Scissors

In the 19th century, patents for buttonhole scissors began to be filed at the United States Patent Office, and some of these designs are still in use today.

Cold Lands, Warm Hands

The history of knitting has been shrouded in mystery, half-truths, and outright lies! Is this because there is so little material, either textiles or documentation, to enable that history to be fully written?

Knitwear and Gloves for Polar Explorers

To undertake polar expeditions, then as now, appropriate protection was needed against the elements, some of the most severe on earth.

By the Dexterous Use of Two Threads: Gloves and the Handknitting Industry of Sanquhar, Scotland

Author James Brown in History of Sanquhar (1891) describes Sanquhar gloves and stockings in the early nineteenth century as “being woven on wires in a peculiar manner,” which presumably means knitted on fine needles.

Stitching in Solitude: Women Homesteaders

In light of current events, I’ve found my mind turning to “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In the book, Laura and her family sewed and embroidered, alone in their home, carefully mending clothes and creating small items of beauty.

Embroidered Huck Towels

Huck embroidery was popular in America from the 1920s into the 1950s.